“Whisper of Sin” features Ria, who, as Lucas’s executive assistant, has appeared in a number of previous books in the series including Slave to Sensation and Mine to Possess. This novella is set back in time, and tells the story of how Ria met her changeling mate, Emmett, and became part of DarkRiver. It also shows us another glimpse of DarkRiver’s past.
Unedited Advance Excerpt from “Whisper of Sin”
Having done two reps of the routine Emmett had shown her, Ria turned to see him walking back to her.
The savage edge in his eyes raised every hair on her body.
The man looked hungry. No one had ever looked at Ria like that. It was almost terrifying. But she stood in place, waiting, wondering.
“Ready for the next step?” His voice was deep, holding the beginnings of what sounded like a growl . . . a leopard
She swallowed. “Sure.”
He padded to a spot opposite her, still dressed in the jeans and T-shirt he’d been wearing earlier. It was obvious why he hadn’t bothered to change—he hadn’t so much as broken a sweat with what they’d done so far, while her muscles were starting to protest. Now, he crooked a finger. “Come on, mink, use what I just taught you.”
She was so startled by what he’d called her that she completely lost her focus. He was in her face an instant later. “What the hell was that?” he growled. “If you blank out in a fight, you’re dead.”
“You called me a mink!” She refused to back off.
“Did I?” Moving at inhuman speed, he closed a hand around her throat before she knew what was happening. “Let’s make sure you’re not a dead mink.”
Eyes narrowed, she reached up and tried to break his nose using the flat of her hand. He caught it using his free hand. Her knee was already aiming for his crotch, and when he blocked that, she leaned forward and sunk her teeth hard into his forearm.
“Fuck!” The hand around her neck remained in place, but he released her other hand. She immediately went for his eyes and his crotch again. Her knee brushed against something very hard, before he twisted away and swore. She kept going, kicking, trying to scratch, even attempting to break the pinkie of the hand he had around her throat.
He finally let go. “Truce.”
Her heart was in her throat, exhilaration in her bloodstream. She knew he’d been playing with her—with his strength and training, he could’ve had her on the ground in one second flat. “How did I do?”
He glanced at his forearm. “I didn’t teach you the biting.” It was a snarl.
Or maybe he hadn’t been playing the whole time. “I decided to add it on my own,” she said, though in truth, it had been an instinctive response to his arrogant provocation. Her eyes went to the marks she’d made. Deep and red and perfectly formed. Guilt invaded. “I didn’t mean to bite you that hard. But . . . I’m not sorry.”
“Oh?” He walked over, slow, so slow. This time, she backed up. It was one thing to play with a predator who was keeping his claws sheathed, quite another to know you were prey. He kept coming. She knew the door out of the basement was only about a foot away. Making a quick move, she went to dart left.
He was there before her and somehow, she found herself pasted up against the closed door, very aware she was all alone with a big, dangerous leopard in human skin. Except instead of fear, it was a vivid excitement that beat in her blood as he placed his hands palms-down on either side of her head and bent until their breaths mingled. “Boo.”
She jumped, then wanted to slap herself for it. “Stop acting the big bad cat.”
A blink, and when he raised his lashes, the eyes that looked back at her were in no way human. “Mmm, I smell a pretty little human in my territory.” A soft whisper against her lips, bright green gold eyes daring her to respond.
Her breasts brushed his chest as he pressed closer, her breath coming in jagged pants. “You’re behaving very badly.” It was a husky reproach.
“You bit me.” He angled his head a little to the left, and though she couldn’t see those amazing eyes except for a glint through his lashes, she knew he was looking at her lips. “Say sorry.”
She didn’t know what made her do it. Parting her lips, she said, “No.”